I’m an Uber driver. That’s right, when I’m not writing articles for HITW I’m a dangerous, uninsured, threat to society who will stop at nothing to offer you mints and water and charge you less than regular cabs. Horrible. Just horrible.
One of the perks of being an Uber driver (and there are many) is that I meet a whole range of colourful, fascinating, and drunk characters. Ok, so mostly just drunk. But nonetheless the conversations that I’ve had with Uber passengers are consistently interesting and endlessly variable. Now that Uber has been in Brisbane for about a year there is no such thing as an ‘average uber customer’. Every passenger is different – I’ve picked up students, parents, full-time workers, politicians, judges, drag-queens, and even once joined a group of passengers for 3am pancakes at the Pancake Manor.
Playing counsellor at 4am in the morning passengers will will mourn their inability to ‘pick up’, celebrate their ability to pick up (through near pornographic displays of intimacy in the back seat), or try to summarise their entire outlook on life, love, and the universe in fragmented drunken slurs of psuedo-profundity. For some this might sound tedious, but for me it’s social observation at it’s best. I’m David Attenborough and my uber-car is the urban version of boulder-cam giving me a privileged insight into the psyche of drunken brisbanites in their natural habitat.
Here is one of my favourite Uber stories:
The Uber trip began as normal – a pick up from Paddington heading into West End. I waited outside the house as a man in his early 30’s stumbled towards my car wearing an un-ironed and unbuttoned business shirt, faded jeans, eau-de-miscellaneous-booze, and a maniacal smile. I did a quick mental check – Sick bags? Check; Water? (to encourage sobriety); Check. He fell into the passenger seat, greeted me with a bro-style handshake, and slurred “HOWYAGOINGMAATTE?”. I laughed. He laughed. This was going to be fun.
As we traveled past the Eiffel Tower of Milton he explained that later this evening he was going to meet a lovely young girl (I’m paraphrasing here) who was well endowed (still paraphrasing) for a date that he’d organised through Tinder. We continued to chat and he, with drunken pride, showed me pictures of all the women that he’d been chatting up on Tinder. “She’s 40 but she doesn’t look it / Not the nicest face but I wouldn’t say no” and so on. He was particularly proud of the date he’d lined up for later tonight – he swiped right and she swiped right and here we are: a true love story in a post IRL dating world.
We finally arrived at the destination in West End which happened to be, he revealed, the address of Tinder date herself who we were picking up RIGHT NOW. Not later, like he’d implied, but right now! I felt a pang of panic on his behalf; it was as if the few minutes of male-bonding we’d shared had made me, unwillingly but undeniably, emotionally invested into the love story of this idiotic but frustratingly likable, right-swiping, Crocodile-Dundee-Reminiscent drunkard. I paused and looked at him for a moment and, sensing my apprehension, he attempted to put me at ease: “I had a few tequilas to relax – She’ll be right”. Well good.
He then left me to sit and ponder his definition of “a few tequilas” while it all sunk in: As if this trip wasn’t already entertaining enough I was now about to witness Jose Cuevro himself engage is a pre-mating ritual with a swipe-right-worthy Brisbane girl – David Attenborough eat your heart out.
I waited in the car while he went into the apartment block to meet his date. After a long while they both returned and my new friend gave me a quick eyebrows raise that I think was meant to signify his alpha lion superiority at having secured himself such a fertile female companion (but equally might have meant “I am going to soon vomit”). I gave him the obligatory half-nod of recognition and started driving towards the West End hub.
“Where to now?” I inquired. There was silence. They both looked at each other expectantly. Somehow, there was a miscommunication and neither of them had organised a date location. The young women was shocked and said incredulously “You haven’t got anywhere planned?!” Jose Dundee shrugged with an enviable but simultaneously detestable nonchalance and drawled “Orrw, well, I don’t know the area very well, I thought you’d have somewhere in mind”.
The silence that followed was delicious.
As reluctant wing-man I stepped in and offered to take them to Sling (it still existed then – shed a tear for the loss of a great brisbane bar), which they both agreed would be a fine location to drink heavily and pretend that this evening never happened.
The Itinerary for a perfect date night:
In order to avoid catastrophes like the one above I have put together what I consider to be the ideal Brisbane date night. In fact I’ve laid out the details in such detail that even our unfortunate tequila-loving friend couldn’t stuff this one. It’s Friday Night, you’ve finished work, and you’re looking forward to some romance with your significant other. What do you do?
6:30pm – Catch an Uber to Portside Hamilton. (Haven’t used uber before? Have a free ride on me! Just click here)
7pm – 7:45 – Wander down to NOLA and soak up the very smooth sounds of Herb Armstrong and his band (Friday nights only). And yes, that’s Herb Armstrong grandson of Louie Armstrong!
Eat some tradtional down south american cuisine (I strongly suggest the Hot Wings!) and wash it down with a Green Beacon craft beer or one of their excellent cocktails (try the French 75 if you’d like something a little classy).
8pm – 8:45pm – Walk around the corner to the Eat Street Markets. Soak up the carnival-esque atmosphere. Jump on the bandwagon and try a Cronut. Share it with your date. Maybe have a kebab.
9pm – Watch a movie at the Dendy back at Portside. The Dendy isn’t your average cinema – along with all the big-budget hollywood movies you can also find a whole range of foreign and art-house movies (oooh fancy).
Article by Andrew Bloyce.